Letters: Dr Susan Strickland, June 30, 2015

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I have just read your article ‘Consultation call on home births made’ and as a midwife (who worked in Wales until I had to give up work due to illness six years ago).

I must say Jane Reeve is right – both about how home birth is much better and safer for the vast majority of women in labour, (and the babies born with much less interference, exposure to infections, and drugs that have negative effects on them eg in terms of breast feeding) – and also how she should have the right to have a home birth here in Lynn.

In fact she HAS that right, and it is up to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital or relevant maternity department to provide her with the midwives she requires at home when she goes into labour.

A hospital cannot say it doesn’t have the staff and that the woman has to therefore come into the hospital. If a woman phones and says she is in labour and requires the midwife they HAVE to provide one – it is not her problem but theirs, and they need to deal with it properly and in advance and not believe they can just persuade or frighten someone to come into a hospital to most likely experience the care, environment and attitudes they have decided they do not want.

I wish Jane Reeve a very good birth at home with her private midwife, and wish the same to many more women in this area. However as many/most people do not have the money to afford a private midwife I think Queen Elizabeth Hospital should pay for the private midwives all pregnant women in this area request (including Jane Reeve). If the QEH does not to have the staff themselves, then they need to provide them in some other way (and private midwives would actually be very good compared to many hospital midwives who lack the experience and confidence for supporting home birth).

Obviously, if paying for private midwives seems too expensive, then they need to ensure they do employ more home birth midwives or else consider other options available in other areas (like one-to-one midwives for instance). Maybe having to provide private midwives at present would encourage Queen Elizabeth Hospital to get their act together!

Dr Susan Strickland

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